'Champions For Hope' Gala Set For March 14

March 9, 2009

The inaugural 'Champions for Hope' gala, celebrating the 30th anniversary of USC's 1978 national championship football team with the goal of raising funds for 'Eric's Vision' and the USC athletic department, will be held this Saturday (March 14) at the Wallis Annenberg Building at the California Science Center. A reception starts at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m.

Among the expected attendees will be such Trojan greats as Ronnie Lott, Anthony Munoz, Marcus Allen, Charles White and Paul McDonald, as well as coaches John Robinson and Norv Turner.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the event, visit https://secure.mdausa.org/augie/championsforhope/

Eric Scoggins, a linebacker on the team, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in January of 2007 and soon after founded 'Eric's Vision,' which provides funds to the Muscular Dystrophy Association's 'Augie's Quest' research initiative dedicated to finding a cure for ALS. He helped raise more than $150,000 for the cause before his death this past January.

His former teammates and friends gathered around to support his family and raise money for Eric's Vision through a variety of Augie's Quest events, including this 30th anniversary celebration of the 1978 USC team spearheaded by Lott and McDonald.

Guests at the 'Champions for Hope' gala will enjoy an event featuring once-in-a-lifetime auction items, unique cocktail beverages, inspirational presentations, and a special performance by the USC Trojans Marching Band under the direction of Dr. Arthur C. Bartner.

The 1978 Trojans went 12-1 under the direction of third-year head coach Robinson and 37 players from that team played in the NFL.

'I am proud to be part of such a great team. These guys worked hard on the field and even harder for what they believed in,' said McDonald. 'I cannot wait to see everyone again, and I am amazed with everyone's efforts as we raise money and awareness for this awful disease.'

Said Lott: 'Eric was always a great friend of mine. We will continue to Fight On and find a cure for ALS. Eric was always a visionary--a leader in football, a forerunner in the fight against ALS and a champion to everyone who knew him.'

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